Friday, August 5, 2016
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Neftali Perea-Zuniga, 30, a Colombian national, was sentenced today to 54 months in prison for his role in nearly 40 burglaries he committed in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri from 2010 through 2013. Perea-Zuniga was also ordered to forfeit $790,436 and ordered to pay $630,336.36 in restitution to his victims. Perea-Zuniga will be deported after serving his prison sentence.
Perea-Zuniga was found guilty by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga after a bench trial on May 4. According to evidence introduced at trial and sentencing, Perea-Zuniga and three co-conspirators, each Colombian nationals who resided in Houston, Texas, traveled across the country to Maryland, Virginia, and other states where they committed burglaries. Perea-Zuniga and his co-conspirators, all of whom previously pleaded guilty, specifically targeted homes owned by small business owners in the area, under the assumption that those families would likely keep cash, gold, and other small valuables in their houses. Perea-Zuniga and his co-conspirators broke into these homes, disabled security devices, and ransacked the master bedrooms in search of cash and gold—much of it family heirlooms. When Perea-Zuniga was arrested, he and two co-conspirators were caught with approximately $60,000 in gold jewelry that had been taken from a residence in Loudoun County. In all, Perea-Zuniga and his co-conspirators stole over $790,000 worth of cash, gold, and small electronics. As a result of law enforcement efforts, some of the cash and jewelry, including a seizure by the Indiana State Police of a suspicious Fed Ex package, resulted in the seizure of over $105,000 in cash and jewelry, which was ultimately returned to the victims.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Chief of Police; Chief Gary L. Gardner, Howard County Police Department; and Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly R. Pedersen and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aleza Remis prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-CR-11.